ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — The Orioles' 14-man pitching staff didn't last long -- not even through the first pitch of Opening Day.
Monday morning, just a few hours before the Orioles' season opener in Tampa Bay, the club designated right-handed Ryan Webb for assignment and selected the contract of catcher Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles now have 10 days to either trade, release, or place Webb on irrevocable waivers. Webb, 29, has already cleared outright waivers.
Webb made 51 appearances for the Orioles in 2014, going 3-3 with a 3.83 ERA. Because he has five years of major league service time, the Orioles cannot force him to accept an assigntment to the minor leagues and either had to keep him on the active roster or release him.
Since no team claimed Webb and his $2.75 million contract for 2015 on outright waivers, the Orioles will likely release him. The club would still be on the hook for his salary, but another team can then sign him for the major league minimum of $507,500.
With Matt Wieters opening the season on the disabled list still recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Orioles will head into Opening Day carrying three catchers.
Lavarnway, who was re-assigned to the minors Sunday, batted .167 in 17 Grapefruit League games this spring and threw out three of 11 attempted basestealers.
The Orioles likely won't carry three catchers for long. They must find a spot on the 25- and 40-man rosters for first baseman Chris Davis after he serves the final game of a 25-game suspension Monday.
The Orioles could option catcher Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk after the opener. Lavaranway would have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors, so sending Clevenger down allows the Orioles to keep all their catching depth.